From Left to Right

Maternalism and Women's Political Activism in Postwar Canada

Brian T. Thorn

  • Published: 2016. Paperback February 2017
  • Subject Listing: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Politics
  • Bibliographic information: 256 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Contents

In From Left to Right, Brian Thorn explores what motivated Canadian women to become politically engaged in the 1940s and '50s. Although women in these decades are often depicted as being trapped in the suburbs, they joined diverse political parties, including the CCF, Social Credit, and the Communist Party of Canada. Thorn argues, controversially, that while women on the "left" and "right" had different goals, their activism continued to be informed by maternalism. They used their roles as wives and mothers to influence their parties' positions and break down barriers. Along the way, they laid the foundations for the 1960s feminist movement.
Brian T. Thorn teaches in the Departments of English and History at Nipissing University.

"By comparing the roles and efforts of women who belonged not only to left-wing parties but also to the right wing, Brian Thorn offers a new and useful perspective on women's political activism during the postwar decades."
-Julie Guard, Labour Studies Program, University of Manitoba
1. Women No Longer Need Fear Want or Illness: Women on the Left
2. Ladies, Let Us Hold High the Banner of Social Credit! Women on the Right
3. Peace Is the Concern of Every Mother: Communist and Social Democratic Women's Anti-War Activism
4. Traveling Bags for Their Trip to Russia: Social Credit Women Campaign for Peace
5. The Well-Being of the Home Depends on the Well-Being of the Union: Women-Only Organizations
6. Healthy Activity and Worthwhile Ideas: Confronting Juvenile Delinquency
Appendix: Brief Biographies